Toro Lawn Mower Troubleshooting

Toro lawn mowers are among the best machines for both residential and professional use. But like other machines, they may experience problems that can affect the effectiveness of your mowing. Some users may also have challenges setting up their units as specified. This guide seeks to provide clear answers on how to troubleshoot some of the common issues with these mowers.

Why Does My Toro Lawn Mower Not Start?

The following are some of the common reasons a mower may not start:

  1. An old or faulty spark plug. Starting will be easier if the spark plug is in good condition. Replace the spark plug if in doubt. A new spark plug will be able to provide a better spark to ignite the fuel-air mix within the engine. Also, ensure the spark plug wire is attached to the spark plug.
  2. Dirty filter- a dirty filter will make it more difficult for the engine to draw in air. You need to clean or replace the filter if it is dirty.
  3. Old fuel (more than 30 days). Verify the fuel being used was purchased within the last 30 days. Also verify that there is no dirt, water, or stale fuel in the fuel tank.
  4. On electric start models, the battery needs to be charged at the start and end of the season. One charge may be sufficient to last the entire season. If not, additional charging during the season may be necessary. Also, it is important to note that cannot start your mower with the electric start or charge the battery unless you install the fuse.

Common Causes of Trouble on the Toro Lawn Mower Self Propel and How to Fix Them

When the front wheel drive on your Toro lawn mower malfunctions, the possible causes for this problem include:

  1. Belt problems

The belt should be the first place to look when you have a loss of drive since self-propelled Toro mowers rely on a belt to turn the wheels. The belt may be worn and slipping, torn, stretched with time, or may be broken and completely off the machine.

To fix the problem:

  • Look for missing chunks of rubber or variation in the width of the belt along its length. If the belt appears damaged, replace it.
  1. Excessive debris

Mowers accumulate debris on the underside of the deck and around the wheels. The problem can especially worsen if the mower has not been cleaned for a long time.

To fix the problem:

  • Check the wheels and the belt to make sure that debris is not the cause of the front wheel drive problem.
  • Disconnect the spark plug, turn the mower over and clean out grass clippings, twigs, or rocks that may have become lodged in the wheels and belt system.
  1. Drive cable issues

A problem with the drive cable can cause the wheels to malfunction since the mower depends on the self-propel drive cable to control it.

To fix the problem:

  • Loosen the cable support nut that is located on the side of the mower’s handle.
  • Pull the cable’s jacket toward the engine until the cable is taut and displays no slack.
  • Tighten the cable support nut back into position to hold the adjustment you have made.
  1. Operator error

The problem with the front wheel drive could also be a result of not operating the mower properly. These types of mowers have two separate bars on the handle. The blade-control bar, which must be held in place when pulling the starter coil handle to start the machine. There is also the self-propel bar, located underneath the handle, which you should squeeze once the mower’s engine is running.

Check this too: Why is My Lawnmower Blowing White Smoke?

To disengage the front-wheel drive, simply release the self-propel drive. To stop the blades and shut the engine, release the blade control bar.

Why Does My Toro Lawn Mower Keep Stopping?

A clogged carburetor is likely to be blamed if your lawn mower starts then stalls. The carburetor can get clogged if you leaved fuel in the mower for a long period of time. If this happens, it stops the flow of fuel to carburetor causing the engine to stop. To determine if the fuel cap vent is clogged, try loosening the cap slightly and then start the engine.

Other possible causes for the problem are:

  • Dirty air filter
  • Malfunctioning, loose, dirty or disconnected spark plug

Is it OK to Push a Self Propelled Mower?

To operate the self-propel drive, simply walk with your hands on the upper handle and your elbows at your sides, and the machine will automatically keep pace with you.

But, if the machine does not freely roll backward after self-propelling, stop walking, hold your hands in place, and let the machine roll a couple of inches forward to disengage the wheel drive. You can also try reaching just under the upper handle to the metal handle and push the machine forward a couple of inches.

How to Turn Off Toro Lawn Mower

You can turn off your Toro lawn mower by shutting off the engine. Follow the instructions below to shut off the engine:

  • Release the blade-control bar.
  • The engine should shut off and the blade should stop within 3 seconds when you release the blade-control bar.

For Toro SS 4250, SS 5000, or MX 5000 riding mower:

  • Disengage the blades by moving the blade-control switch to the OFF position.
  • Move the throttle lever to the FAST position.
  • Turn the ignition key to the OFF position and remove the key.

Toro Lawn Mower Won’t Start When Hot

If your lawn mower will not start when hot it can be because of following possible causes:

  • Air leaks
  • Overheated engine
  • Faulty ignition system
  • Malfunctioning or sticky choke inside the carburetor.
  • Poor compression.

It is often an indication of an over rich mixture, a failing coil, and/or damaged spark plug.

Air leaks cause an engine to pull in too much outside air, which throws off the gasoline-air ratio. A malfunctioning or sticky choke inside the carburetor may be staying closed rather than opening after the engine starts.

Try the following tips to see if the problem resolves:

  • To eliminate the coil as the problem, fit an inline spark tester and see if you get a reliable spark when hot. Replace the spark plug if necessary. The ignition coil and condenser may also need to be replaced because they control the flow of electricity to the spark plug.
  • Check and tighten the bolts that hold the carburetor in place.
  • Clean out the carburetor, paying attention to the float needle and seat. Then try again.

Toro Lawn Mower Running Rough

If your lawnmower runs roughly it may be caused by a clogged carburetor. Inspect the carburetor for clogging that is often caused by sticky fuel. If the carburetor is clogged, try cleaning it with a carburetor cleaner or replace the carburetor if cleaning is not proving effective.

If the carburetor is not the issue, try these fixes to resolve the problem:

  • Check the spark plug with a spark plug gap gauge to make sure the gap is set to the distance specified in your mower’s manual.
  • Check the air filter to make sure it is clean. Clean it if dirty. Replace the air filter if necessary.
  • Check the fuel filter to make sure it is clean. If clogged, clean it or replace it.

Toro Lawn Mower Won’t Cut

Try these instructions if your Toro lawn mower is not cutting properly:

  • Disconnect the spark plug and prop the mower up.
  • Put on a pair of gloves and then inspect the cutting blade.
  • Tighten the bolt in the center of the blade if it is loose.
  • Check the edge of the cutting blade to make sure it is properly sharpened and not damaged. If the blade needs sharpening, sharpen it with a metal file. Replace it if it is damaged or is too dull to sharpen.

Common Problems with Toro Zero Turn Mowers and Their Fixes

If your Toro Zero Turn mower will not start, please verify the following:

  • The blade control (PTO) is disengaged or turned to the OFF position.
  • The operator of the machine must be sitting in the seat when starting.
  • The battery is fully charged.
  • The parking brake is set.
  • All electrical connections are connected and in good condition. Check for corrosion and lose connections.
  • One of the fuses is not blown.
  • Fuel being used was purchased within the last 30 days. Verify no dirt, water, or stale fuel in the fuel tank or fuel container.

If your Zero Turn mower is pulling to the left or right side, the unit may need a Tracking Adjustment. If the unit tracks or pulls to the right (forward tracking adjustment):

  1. Remove the LH (left hand) side control cover.
  2. Turn the LH adjustment nut 1 full turn clockwise (tightening the nut).
  3. Test drive unit and verify tracking.
  4. If the unit still pulls to the right, repeat steps 2 and 3 until the unit tracks straight.
  5. Install the LH control cover and torque the fastener to specification.

If the unit tracks or pulls to the left:

  1. Remove the RH (right hand) side control cover.
  2. Turn the RH adjustment nut 1 full turn clockwise.
  3. Test drive unit and verify tracking.
  4. If the unit still pulls to the right, repeat steps 2 and 3 until unit tracks straight.
  5. Install the RH control cover and torque the fastener to specification.

Toro Lawn Mower Filter Replacement

Gently tapping your mower’s air filter on a hard surface helps loosen debris and is one way to troubleshoot a dirty air filter. But, if the air filter is excessively dirty, you need to replace it with a new filter.

For an air filter replacement, follow these steps:

  1. Unclip the top of the air filter cover.
  2. Remove the air filter.
  3. Install the new air filter.
  4. Use the clip to install the air-filter cover.

For the in-line fuel filter, it is recommended you replace it every 200 hours. Follow the steps below to replace the in-line fuel filter of your Toro Riding mower:

  1. Park the machine on a level surface and disengage the blade control switch.
  2. Move the motion-control levers outward to the PARK position, shut off the engine, remove the key, and wait for all moving parts stop before leaving the operating position.
  3. Replace the in-line filter.

What Causes a Toro Lawn Mower to Smoke?

Your lawnmower can emit smoke for several reasons- many which don’t necessitate an expert to resolve.

Black smoke may indicate that the mower is “running rich” or burning too much gasoline. Your mower’s carburetor regulates the gas to air mixture ratio. If the carburetor is not getting enough air, the mixture has a higher gasoline percentage, which can create black exhaust smoke. The possible cause for this issue is a dirty or clogged air filter that prevents sufficient airflow to the carburetor. Try cleaning the filter or replacing it to resolve the problem.

On the other hand, white or blue smoke may indicate an oil spill on the engine.  This may have happened if you recently changed the oil or you were mowing on a slope greater than 15 degrees or you tipped the mower on its side. Try resolving the problem by restarting the mower and allowing the spilled oil to burn off.

If a problem you might be having with your Toro lawn mowers proves too difficult for a DIY, hire a professional to help fix it. For other issues that may not have been captured in this troubleshooting guide, don’t hesitate to contact Toro customer support, giving your model number,  for further assistance.